AMEX Cruise Privileges Benefits or 3X Points with Chase Sapphire Reserve?

AMEX Cruise Privileges Benefits or 3X Points with Chase Sapphire Reserve?

 

Luxury Cruise: AMEX Cruise Privileges Benefits or Earn 3X Points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve? A TravelSort Client and cruiser asks “Should I pay for my cruise with my AMEX Platinum to enjoy the AMEX Cruise Privileges benefits such as the $300 shipboard credit, or earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points with my new Chase Sapphire Reserve?”

AMEX Cruise Privileges Benefits, By Cruise Line

AMEX Cruise Privileges provides special benefits when you book your cruise using your AMEX Platinum or Centurion card, typically on sailings of 5 nights or more, booked with your AMEX Platinum or Centurion card. You do NOT need to book with AMEX Travel to receive these benefits; you just need to pay for the cruise with your AMEX Platinum or Centurion card, and have TravelSort or your luxury travel advisor get a tracking number from AMEX and apply it to your booking.

If you book your cruise with your AMEX Platinum card, including as a TravelSort Client, you can receive the following benefits, by luxury cruise line. AMEX Centurion member benefits are also listed.

AMA Waterways

  • $300 USD Shipboard credit per stateroom**
  • $100 spa voucher per stateroom

 

Azamara Cruises

  • $300 USD Shipboard Credit per stateroom
  • Behind-the-Scenes Tour
  • One bottle of premium champagne delivered to stateroom once per cruise

 

Crystal 

Platinum Card Members:

  • $300 Shipboard Credit per stateroom*
  • $200 Shore Excursion credit per stateroom

Centurion Members:

  • $500 Shipboard Credit per stateroom*
  • $150 Shore Excursion credit per stateroom
Cunard Line
  • $300 USD Shipboard Credit per stateroom (for oceanview staterooms: cat ED or higher on Queen Mary 2 (QM2), cat FA or higher Queen Victoria (QV)/ Queen Elizabeth (QE)
  • Priority check-in and embarkation
  • One bottle of wine once per cruise
Oceania Cruises
  • $300 USD Shipboard Credit per stateroom
  • Premium Wine Tasting event for two
  • One bottle of wine from the Wine Tasting Event menu
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
  • $300 Shipboard Credit ($500 for Centurion) per stateroom
  • Galley Tour and Brunch*
Seabourn
  • $300 Shipboard Credit ($500 for Centurion) per stateroom
  • “Suite Dreams” turn down service (once per cruise)
  • One bottle of premium wine delivered to stateroom once per cruise
Silversea Cruises
  • $300 Shipboard Credit ($500 for Centurion) per stateroom
  • A single bottle of Dom Perignon (or similarly valued champagne) per suite; with the exception of Silversea Expeditions (Silver Explorer, Silver Galapagos, and Silver Discoverer)
  • Tour of the Galley with the exception of Silversea Expeditions (Silver Explorer, Silver Galapagos, and Silver Discoverer)
Uniworld
  • $300 USD Shipboard Credit per stateroom
  • One bottle of premium champagne and chocolates delivered to the stateroom upon embarkation.
 
Windstar Cruises
  • $300 USD Shipboard Credit per stateroom
  • “Romance Under Sail” package: one bottle of premium champagne,chocolate covered strawberries andcanapes
Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean
 
In the case of these more mainstream, non-luxury cruise lines, shipboard credit ranges from $100 for less expensive staterooms to $300 for suites. Holland America also offers some chocolate dipped strawberries, while Norwegian offers a complimentary dinner for two at Le Bistro Restaurant, and Royal Caribbean offers a bottle of champagne delivered to your stateroom once during the cruise.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: No Cruise Privileges Program, But 3X Points and Eligible for Virtuoso Benefits

Since Chase doesn't have an equivalent to AMEX's Cruise Privileges program, you might wonder why you wouldn't book with AMEX Platinum if you have the card. Well, until the Chase Sapphire Reserve came along:

1. $300 Travel Credit Includes Cruises

The $300 annual travel statement credit that comes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve is for any travel, including cruises. So right there, you have the equivalent of a $300 statement credit, at least for your first cruise.

2. 3X Points on ALL Travel, Including Cruises

You earn 3X Ultimate Rewards points on all travel, including cruises. So instead of earning 1-2 Membership Rewards points per dollar for your cruise, you're earning 3X points. On a recent cruise I booked for clients that cost $20,000, that's 20,000 more points, or about $400 or more in value, depending on how you value your Ultimate Rewards points.

3. Eligible for Virtuoso Benefits

You can't combine AMEX Cruise Privileges benefits with Virtuoso benefits, but if you book your cruise with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can receive Virtuoso benefits, typically the choice of a shore excursion or a $150 per guest shipboard credit, plus an exclusive Virtuoso reception with fellow Virtuoso travelers and a Virtuoso host.

 

The Verdict

Unless you're a Centurion member and are taking advantage of the higher $500 shipboard credit available to you on Crystal, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn or Silversea Cruises, I'd say it's much better to use the new Chase Sapphire Reserve card to pay for your cruise, since your cruise goes towards the $300 annual travel statement credit, you earn 3X on the purchase, and you also can enjoy Virtuoso benefits. Plus, there are cruise lines that aren't part of the AMEX Cruise Privileges program, such as Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic, Quark Expeditions, etc., which again make more sense to book using the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

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